Hawkish Congressman Murtha calls for immediate withdrawal from Iraq

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

Washington -- Rep. John Murtha, perhaps the House's most influential Democrat on military issues, gave evidence of the rising discontent in Congress over the 32-month-old war in Iraq by calling Thursday for the immediate withdrawal of all American forces.

"The U.S. cannot accomplish anything further in Iraq militarily. It is time to bring them home," said Murtha, a former Marine intelligence officer in Vietnam and the senior Democrat on the House appropriations subcommittee that oversees military spending.

"The war in Iraq is not going as advertised. It's a flawed policy wrapped in illusion. The American public is way ahead of the members of Congress,'' said Murtha, a western Pennsylvania representative who voted in October 2002 for the resolution authorizing President Bush to take military action to oust Saddam Hussein.

Read the complete article.

Read Congressman Murtha's speech to Congress.


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Immediate Withdrawal

We need to reframe "cut and run." Immediate withdrawal does not mean abdication of our responsibility to atone. The bitterness is already there, and the guilt is already here. Every day we maintain troops in Iraq compounds the problem. Nothing can be as damaging as "stay the course" because the course is endless and fruitless. Immediate withdrawal will calm the guilt, and if we put as much fiscal support behind international peacemakers as we have behind "staying the course," we will not be abdicating our responsibility but rather empowering the world community. There is no earthly way to "de-escalate this conflict in a healthy way." The damage is done. The civil war was there before we ever brought in the international terrorists. Our involvement has added ecological and cultural devastation to the bloodshed. But at least once our troops and our profiteers are out of there, we can hope to get our silly asses out of the warmongering limelight before we have real trouble!

"Blue in a Red State"

...and send in the peacemakers

This is heartening coming from a guy like Murtha. Can anyone say "erosion of support"??!

Still, I wish he had said something like "The U.S. cannot accomplish anything further in Iraq militarily. It is time to bring them home and let the peacemakers to do their job." Just getting the military out is irresponsible and will not reduce what will be long-lasting bitterness for what we have done. We need to mediate, pacify, make ammends, atone non-militarily otherwise this may come back to haunt us in 30 years.

I agree with the people who are saying that "cut and run" is the wrong strategy. We have a responsibility to help clean up that mess and right the wrongs that we have done to the best of our ability. Get the military out. Send in the peacemakers. There are many organizations that have the skills to de-escalate this conflict in a healthy way. "Cut and run" will possibly create as much bitterness as "stay the course".

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